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Berta

HadIt.com Elder
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Berta last won the day on November 23

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About Berta

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    HadIt.com Elder/SVR Radio Panelist

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    PLEASE post questions in the main Forums
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    Beautiful hills of NY andwidow of  2 vets, 2 HD each and mother of USAF vet-my daughter, 7 years Top Secret Intel
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  1. SMC Special Monthly Compensation. New rates here: https://www.benefits.va.gov/COMPENSATION/resources-rates-read-compAndSMC.asp Explained here: https://cck-law.com/news/special-monthly-compensation-explained/ And searchable at hadit for many discusssions on SMC.
  2. "According to my copy of the NOD, he is also requesting an SOC and will be submitting more info as to why the percentage and effective date are in error.." Didnt they send a SOC with the decision? "I've been told this is an exceptionally good law firm and having paid them a substantial amount so far, I will probably take their advice. Or not." Yes they have helped Many vets but why have you paid them a substantial amount so far? I assume you mean this was a contingency fee, due to the awards from the VA, that a NOD had already been filed on. This is part of a good article by Jim Strickland, VA Watchdog- "When do you call a lawyer? To hire or "retain" an attorney to guide you through a VA disability benefits appeal, you must first have a denial of an application that you submitted. The lawyer usually can't help you before that happens. About 70% of original claims are denied. It's very likely you'll have something denied so you can start thinking about an attorney now. Hiring a lawyer isn't difficult. The first thing you need to know is that you probably won't find a lawyer who is local to you. Veterans law attorneys work at the federal level so as long as they are certified by VA to represent veterans, you can choose a lawyer who lives anywhere else away from you. You may never meet your lawyer face to face. He or she will do all the work for you by mail, electronic mail and filings and on the phone. There isn't much hand holding to be done in VA cases, the evidence and the law will take care of itself with your lawyer guiding things. To find the lawyer who is right for you will require that you pick up the phone or send some emails. The attorneys who are featured on this web site are known to be reliable and committed to winning for veterans. I urge you to talk to at least 2 or 3 prior to signing up with any attorney. Look for an attorney who is prompt in getting back to you to discuss your case. If you are shuffled from one "paralegal" to the next and you aren't able to speak with the lawyer, move on to someone else. The lawyer should seem interested in your case and spend enough time with you that you believe that he or she understands all the issues. If you are rushed or if the conversation is interrupted by other calls or people barging into their office, you'll want to move on to the next person on your list. Next up...the expense of hiring a lawyer. I hear it a lot, "Jim. I don't have any money. I can't afford a lawyer!" You're about to be pleasantly surprised when I tell you that even if you're dead broke, you can afford a great lawyer." "Attorney Fees The most common type of fee is the percentage or contingency fee, which is the most favorable fee structure for most veterans in most veterans benefits cases. This is because the attorney is only paid if (1) an award is made and (2) there is an amount owed to the veteran at the time of the award. The attorney is then paid a percentage (usually between 20% and 33%) of the amount owed to the veteran when an award is approved. This amount, also known as a “retroactive” award, is the amount of due to the veteran from the effective date of the award up to the date of the award. If the award was made following an appeal to the Board and the effective date is the date the claim was originally filed (as it is in most cases), the retroactive amount could be 3 or 4 years of benefits. If the case goes up to the Veterans Court and back, the retroactive period could be ten years or more. As an example, assume a veteran filed a claim on January 1, 2004, and enters into a 20% contingency fee agreement with an attorney. On January 1, 2008, the veteran is awarded a 100% disability rating. The retroactive amount is the 100% monthly payment for the period between January 1, 2004, and January 1, 2008 (four years), which is approximately $120,000 at current rates. The attorney’s fee would be 20% of the $120,000 or $24,000." https://www.vawatchdog.org/how-to-hire-a-veterans-law-attorney.html
  3. Berta

    Blue Water vets-

    Senator Lee of Utah Phone: (202) 224-5444 Fax: (202) 228-1168 Email COS Allyson_Bell@lee.senate.gov Senator Enzi of Wyoming Phone: (202) 224-3424 Fax: (202) 228-0359 Email vet liason: Charles_Carroll@enzi.senate.gov"
  4. I have been griping about that for years------- There is more to this Contractor stuff then meets the eye- Is your VA PCP doctor a VA employe or a contracted doctor? I posted a link to where you can find out ,in the main forum. Everything you stated is true- That is why more veterans have to complain to the White House Hot Line: 1-855-948-2311 And/or file a formal complaint ,on line, with the VA Accountability Office and Whistle Blower Protection (OAWB) https://www.va.gov/accountability/ I mentioned this crap already to OAWB but they are looking into something far different than that-due to my formal complaint- I will be preparing an additional complaint this week on the C & P situation, with some evidence from GAO- but I am a civilian , it will take hearing from veterans themselves to ever begin to alter this very unfair situation. Your post summed it up very well. As a widow all Posthumous C & P exams on my husband were done by VA doctors at VAMCs. Except one I filed an IRIS complaint on- done in 2015. Someone from my VARO called me aout it and said they" already picked" someone to do it right away. I do not believe that 'someone' had any medical knowledge at all. I think the VA lackey for their director prepared it. It caused a denial that they immediatey reversed to a award, however the EED is wrong- have CUE on that . However I had to file a IRIS complaint because first VA verified they had my request for the actual C & P exam. Then they said I never sent in any request. This is the same BS I have had to put up with over the past 24 years. The rhetoric from th exam in the denial is bad enough- but ,as I learned in 1997, the actual C & P exam might well be far different from what the RO says it says. (or maybe there was no actual C & P exam in my case, and my evidence fully outweighed it , they listed it as received and in the denial, but the 'examiner' probably could not read it-it was from the VA's top cardio doctor.) We have no Discovery rights, as within a civil case, and that is how VA gets away with this stuff. For vets who get a denial based on a contracted exam , they might well need a costly IMO from a real doctor and they are not given enough time to do that or even find a way to pay for an IMO/IME. A good IMO/IME doctor would want to have the C & P exam results , to fully prepare a strong IMO/IME. And the C & P exam might not have even been done by someone with any expertise at all in the field of the disability.
  5. Berta

    What to do?

    Thank you all! It will take me time but I want to find out more info on them. It is no secret that VA doctors and other professionals have been leaving the system-but are not being replaced by actual VA employees. "To care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow, and his orphan." Abraham Lincoln. There has been some interest to change this motto to account for him and "her." I think maybe it should state - "to care for all" who have borne the battle: etc, but "with non -VA health care providers." I had no idea VAMCs were using so many contractors until I read of the Tally case. I also assume the non VA 'doctors' under contracts do not have to adhere to the VA Physician's Handbook - of extensive guidelines to providing proper care. https://www.va.gov/vapubs/viewPublication.asp?Pub_ID=338&FType=2 Interesting enough- the Handbook has the same type of rhetoric for treating VA employees as it had in 1988. I used the 1988 M21 version of the Physician guidelines, to help succeed in my FTCA wrongful death case. It corresponded with the very first documented instances of malpractice,in my husband's medical records, at the local VAMC, and also warranted a 1988 EED for my AO IHD death claim-awarded in 2012. (He was both a SC vet and a VA employee)
  6. These are the two big contractors I'm aware of that do the C&P exams.

    https://www.vesservices.com/   2707  Loop W, Houston, TX  77008

    https://www.qtcm.com/924 Overland Ct, San Dimas, CA  91773

  7. If your 100% is solely for one SC,perhaps they are inferring SMC.......based on this: " The "New" claim is for something I am currently rated for. I am, however, experiencing additional nerve/level involvement to what I had been for years. For instance, I've had Radiculopathies for years now, but I started having stabbing pains down the leg in question (marked "New" claim) which I hadn't had before. " "As such, VA performed an MRI which, according to the Radiologist, correlated with my newly complained pains and of which were later affirmed by my Pain Clinic's Doctors. Could those Docs have filed a claim on my behalf?" Docs dont file claims- VA can and should infer a SMC issue. Pain is supposed to become a regulation. I don't know what else to think the new claim could be about. SMC S A 100% SC rating for solely one disability and 60% for additional independent SC disability.(ies) or SMC S due to Housebound status due to SCs.
  8. Roanoke- thse info is about 3 years old- probably the same numbers now- maybe change in their names: Director Keith M. Wilson 1-540-597-1120 (phone) 1-540-597-1785 (fax) keith.wilson4@va.gov ( email) Their VSCMs dont have fax#s but here is Dave Svirsky ( main Roanoke VSCM) phone 1-540-597-1150
  9. Berta

    What to do?

    PS I ask questions here that never get answered- maybe someone will have this info- What are the names and address of the main contracting firms that VA is using these days? Unfortunatey there are private entities so FOIA wont work to get info on them. But I will try a FOIA today, to the VA to try to find out who they are? Not being a vet myself, nor getting VA health care ( and the Posthumous C & Ps I got over the years appear to have all been done by VA employees)- I don't know who these contractoring firms are.
  10. Berta

    What to do?

    I would go to the Patient advocate first- and if that reaps no satisfaction this vet should contact the Director of the VAMC. I probably have their #. Dont know what VA. He sure might want to look her up on the VA Contracting doctors list I have post here twice or more times. She might not even be a VA employee. This is one more draw back of the VA's practice of hiring more and more contractor- and medical professionals. My major complaint on that has been that if a contracted doctor,nurse, etc, causes negligence to the vet- the vet cannot use 1151 or FTCA against them anymore.Because they are not a VA employee. But another concern would be, a contracting doctor,nurse, etc could become very negative and disrespectful to a vet and without a formal complaint to their contractor, they might do this to many veterans. This is the second time early today I am posted the WH Hot Line # and I have been posting that # as well as the OAWB site link often here lately. 1-855-948-2311 I have been around the VA block since 1981, have made formal complaints to the directors of our local VAMC many times, and filed another complaint recently against my VARO. The problem with these issues, I have seen over the decades, is that veterans do not complain enough- to the right people when they have a legitimate reason to- and this is why the C & P exam program is so messed up and will probably take a Class Action case to resolve it. Neither the VA nor Congress, nor any other entity re: VA -can fix what they do not know is broken. I have not heard back from NVLSP on the GAO C & P report yet- only got 2 invites to their Christmas party-I live too far away to take the time to go- I would just end up griping about the VA anyhow....
  11. Berta

    C and P hypeetension

    It was perfect for these vets: I am not saying Detroit manipulates the data in this alarming IG report but you should request a new C & P-use that IG report to reflect why you feel you have a legitimate concern. And/or call the White House Veterans Hot Line: 1-855-948-2311 Do you take daily HBP readings at home and document them? That is always a good way to show what your HBP is, over a period of time.
  12. Berta

    Secondary Memory Loss PTSD

    As this BVA decision states, memory loss is part of the PTSD rating schedule- It might not impact your present rating but by all means go to the VA Schedule of Ratings form here and see if you fall into the 50% criteria. https://www.va.gov/vetapp15/Files2/1511426.txt To attach files, just click on the Choose files thing below....your PC file folders should pop up. I clicked on a file photo of my zinnias to see if I am giving the right advise- it came up automatically here when I clicked on it when it came up in my PC files,after I clicked on 'choose files.' I am sure the pdfs should work the same way.
  13. Right- I filed multiple CUE claims fairly recently-on three separate issues -sent separately , that were awarded in one award letter. Per VA they have all gone to the same person at my VARO.(I hope they can read) When I became a claimant in 1995, I became claimant on my dead husband's two separate claims issues when he died. (higher PTSD rating and 1151 claim.) When Nehmer Phila RO got my AO IHD death claim, I asked them to adjudicate 2 CUES I had filed -one in 2003- and one in 2004- stating not only are these claims still at my VARO -Buffalo, but they are both contingent on a proper AO IHD award. Filed 2003-and 2004 , awarded 2012 by Nehmr Phila VARO. They were set for BVA transfer but I dont think my RO wanted the VA to even see them. A twelve year old could have awarded them. They were perfect. My RO sent me some meaningless rhetoric as I had asked for reconsideration-which added time to the claims but they had told me the CUEs were with a "specialist"- (I think they meant the guy who refills their paper cup dispenser at the RO water cooler .) I should have whipped out 38 CFR 4.6 on them.Still I was patient , (and in college at the time- too much to deal with) because I knew Nehmer RO would have to grant them. Actually I can't wait to get some BS from them again, and their decision will go to the OAWB and the (Secretary and POTUS) and maybe I can join a complaint a former member here filed with the IG against this VARO.) The college above I went to- was the American Military University-first civilian graduate and with Honors. I learned how to FIGHT! And the VA paid for it under Chapter 35. Next to Evidence, the most important weapon we have , is their own regulations.And we can use those regulations against them- as they try to do to us.
  14. " I did find out is that my granted, closed appeal was brokered out to an office in West VA and that there's another appeal for service connection for PTSD, filed less that 30 days later in Salt Lake City? I don't understand why there are two appeals for PTSD listed, it seems like needless duplication that I'm sure will slow down my claim." Maybe ,when they awarded the PTSD with the EED of Sept 2015, they ( the Salt Lake City RO, also realized the 1978 claim could be appealed under 3.156 )- this is just a WAG however (wild ass guess) because maybe someone who knows VA case law in and out,handled the newer claims, saw that they had missing service records for the 1978 decision....but then again VA almost never takes the step of filing an appeal for a veteran- the New Appeals Moderization Act might have some info on that- In any event- many vets have received good sized retro when they used either 3.156 or CUE to get past erroneous situations corrected. If a vet is denied years ago, and then is awarded when they re- open the claim- for the same disability they had been denied for- obvously the SC disability didnt begin when they re opened the claim- it began with the initial claim-however ,if the original denial contained a "0" rating, that can be problematic, to try to recover any retro. "I got a copy of the NOD today and atty is requesting 'traditional appeal process' and a statement of the case. I was in hopes of a RAMP appeal, to speed things up" ...yeah- that surprises me too. I hope the attorney raised the 3.156 C regulation in the NOD.
  15. Interesting- I think the lawyer means using 38 CFR 3.156 (c) ??? https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/38/3.156 If it regards the PTSD , VA didnt call it PTSD until sometime in or after 1983- My husband's original award (for PTSD) just says 'nervous condition". Nothing is Impossible: "ORDER An effective date of July 27, 1978-date of VA's receipt of the Veteran's original claim for benefits-for the award of service connection for psychiatric disability, variously diagnosed as schizophrenia and manic depressive disease, and later as paranoid schizophrenia and PTSD, is granted." https://www.va.gov/vetapp16/Files5/1638854.txt ( Ken Carpenter represented him)
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